Security

Google Chrome adds 3 new antivirus protections, improving security for Windows users

The new settings, introduced in Chrome for Windows, protect users from hijacked settings, unwanted software, and changes that could impact the user experience.

Chrome for Windows users have three new antivirus features for safer browsing, the company announced in a blog post Monday.

Building onto existing security options like Safe Browsing, the new options will alert users when extensions change or when software bundles unwanted content to downloads, while also upgrading its ability to detect threats.

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Hijacked settings detection notifies users when an extension has changed the user's default settings without their permission, the post said. In a dropdown notification similar to many of Chrome's current notifications, users will have the option to return to their original settings or accept the extension's changes.

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Chrome for Windows now notifies users when an extension changes the user's settings without their permission. Image: Google

The Chrome Cleanup feature alerts users if unwanted software or content is bundled into one of the user's downloads without their consent. If unwanted content is identified during the installation process, a notification gives the user the option to remove the unwanted content, cancel, or see details about what has been identified as a threat, the post noted. Additionally, Chrome Cleanup has been redesigned with clarity in mind, making it easier to see what software is being removed.

Outside of a redesign, Chrome Cleanup got a technology upgrade. Working with detection-focused IT security company ESET, the new version of Cleanup will catch and remove more unwanted software. While it seems like an all-encompassing antivirus, it will only remove software that breeches Google's unwanted software policy.

Unwanted software or extension changes often have subtle effects, like modified ads or search results, Philippe Rivard, product manager for Chrome Cleanup, wrote in the blog post. "But in some cases, the changes are so severe that they can make the web unusable—people are redirected to unwanted sites full of ads, and it can be next to impossible to navigate away from these pages."

Over a million users have used the hijacked settings feature in the past month to prevent consent-free changes, according to the blog. With the complete roll out happening now, Rivard wrote "tens of millions" of users will get the features over the next few days.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Chrome for Windows introduced three upgrades focused on preventing unwanted software from installing on a computer or changing a user's settings without their consent.
  2. Users will be notified if an extension tries to change default settings or if unwanted software gets bundled into a download. Chrome Cleanup got a tech revamp, enabling it to catch and remove more software that doesn't meet Google's unwanted software policy.
  3. The company estimates the changes will impact "tens of millions" of Chrome for Windows users.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/spkphotostock

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is a Multiplatform Reporter at TechRepublic.

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